The Culture of Hostage-Taking

Valery Tishkov

in Chechnya

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2004 | ISBN: 9780520238879
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930209 | DOI:
The Culture of Hostage-Taking

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This chapter highlights the culture of hostage-taking in Chechnya. The lucrative business of holding hostages for ransom developed among Chechens during the first war, and after the peace agreement, escalated into a full-fledged crisis by 1999. Submitting the subject of hostage-taking to social and cultural analysis has proved difficult, for a number of reasons. First, it was necessary to sweep aside certain popular myths that had been generated around this theme during the Chechen war. Second, the perpetrators of such deeds were not accessible for direct interviews. Third, their victims were often far from ideal sources of accurate information, owing to the intense physical and psychological traumas they had suffered. Finally, the people who liberated the hostages were so biased, both politically and personally, that they were also not very helpful in illuminating the character of the phenomenon.

Keywords: hostage-taking; Chechnya; cultural analysis; psychological trauma; war

Chapter.  9886 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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